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Oscar G. Mayer, retired chairman of processed-meat company, dies at 95; Hans W. Liepmann, longtime Caltech physics professor, dies at 94 ; Tony Scott, former TV critic for Daily Variety, dies at 85

July 09, 2009|Times Staff And Wire Reports

Oscar G. Mayer, 95, retired chairman of the meat-processing company that bears his name, died of old age Monday at a hospice facility in Fitchburg, Wis., according to his wife, Geraldine.

He was the third Oscar Mayer in the family that founded Oscar Mayer Foods. His grandfather, Oscar F. Mayer, died in 1955 and his father, Oscar G. Mayer Sr., died in 1965.

Oscar G. Mayer was named president in 1955 and chairman in 1966. He retired in 1977, soon after the company recorded its first $1-billion year. It was later sold to General Foods and is now a business unit of Kraft.

Born in Chicago in 1914, Mayer started working for the family business in 1936 as a production trainee after graduating from Cornell University and doing post-graduate work at Harvard Business School.

Mayer's grandfather entered the retail meat business in 1873 at age 14 when he answered a "help wanted" sign in the window of a Detroit butcher shop, according to a history of the company on the Kraft website.

He moved to Chicago soon after, where he was joined by his brother Gottfried, a sausage maker from Germany. By 1900, the Mayer brothers were delivering their products across Chicago by horse-drawn wagon. In 1924, they added the first packaged, sliced bacon, and in 1936, the Wienermobile, which today travels 50,000 miles a year promoting the brand.


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